Names missing from the voters’ list, confusion over booths allocated – it was deja vu for voters at the Graduate Constituency MLC election on Sunday. Although only 28% i.e. 30,800 off the 1,10,000 people registered showed up, voting was not smooth for many of them. In the previous MLC election, 20,000 voted out of the 70,000 graduates registered.
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In many places, people faced difficulty in finding out their respective booths, as the website which carries the details of the voters list and polling booths, was slow or not opening.
A voter, who had come to St. Joseph School for voting, was shocked to see his wife’s name missing from the voter’s list. The couple have been voting for many years now. “We don’t really know how these kind of mistakes can happen. It is really a shame on our democracy,” said the citizen, who did not wish to be named.
Congress MLA, N A Harris, was at the same booth, addressing voters’ concerns. He told Citizen Matters that it is a systemic flaw and this is not the first time they are facing such problems. People are often sent back because of such problems he said.
“Why has the Election Commission not used the services of full time professionals for election work? When(ever) an election approaches, (Election) commission sends notices to Revenue Department, schools and other government offices for hiring employees temporarily for election duties, this must be changed.”
However Chief Electoral Officer, Suranjana C S, defended all allegations and said, “We have done our level best to ensure smooth election process. The voters list draft was submitted by the end of 2011 and was also published for verification. I don’t really know about the flaws in the list. I will take up each case and rectify the problem,” he said.
Suranjana blames Sunday morning lethargy and general lack of interest in voting as the reasons for low voter turn out.
Ramoji Gowda, the Congress candidate however did not think there was any issue with the voters’ list. “Our voters did not have any problem. We have verified voters’ list in advance and worked with voters to avoid these kind of problems.” he said.